This is the second part of the series “Why I Left My Church”. Audrey and I sat down multiple times to be sure that we got everything truthfully and honestly from her perspective. I wrote down the things that she said while I asked her questions. It was fun interviewing my wife over a lunch date. With her answering questions and me writing things down, I felt like it would be best to write from the first person perspective as she spoke. Here is her story.
Growing up in an Evangelical church was not easy. My frustrations started in elementary. Someone came up to me after I had gotten in trouble and said, “aren’t you a pastor’s kid? You should be more perfect.” As a child, I asked myself, “why would someone say that?”. This has stuck with me since that moment. It doesn’t make sense that people would have that expectation.
I started noticing more things as I got older. I didn’t like how when I was reading the bible, the new testament at least, I wasn’t seeing the same God that I was reading about portrayed- at least in the church that I spent the first 19 years of my life in. I saw a lot of “fake nice people”. The people I was around seemed very nice upfront, but behind closed doors were so judgmental. They would talk bad about people that they were nice to in the church. There was so much anger with those people. In fact, I heard more gossip in church than when I was around my atheist friends. I realized that this “God’s will” that they were acting under was not a God that I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t want to serve a hateful and judgemental God.
As time went on, there was a youth pastor who was hired that opened my eyes. I saw his arrogance and began to recognize that everyone else was just as arrogant as he was. Each person tried to cover their arrogance up to make themselves appear humble. Now, there were some good people. I love and appreciate those people to this day. Even then, I would open up to people and they would promise to be there for me and check on how I was doing. They never kept their word. This happened from multiple people, and if they did follow up, it was for a short time.
I realized that I never had real friends. When I began to question and doubt things, or when my mental illness got bad, people stopped being around and found me annoying. The thing that hit me the hardest was that when I left, nobody cared. I’ve tried to get coffee with people, but nobody wants to spend time with me. It’s frustrating because if you’re going to be an Evangelical, why aren’t you practicing what you preach and bringing the God that you believe in to me? It’s not the words or the preaching that’s persuasive; It’s the love and compassion of the Christ that you say you follow. I find the actions of the Christ in my atheist friends more than people who are Evangelical.
One of the other frustrating things is when people are shitty and then make blog posts about how good God is to them. They don’t own their shittiness -they try to push it off and cover it up. It’s okay to be a shitty person. Own it, laugh about it, and move on. That doesn’t mean be arrogant, push people away, and it doesn’t mean giving into bad things. This means to accept it, acknowledge it, and move on from it.
There are so many other reasons as to why I left my church and why I’m no longer a Christian. A lot of what I’d like to talk about would offend too many people, so it’s best for me to navigate them on my own. I know that there are people out there who share similar stories to mine. If there’s any advice that I could give you, it’s to take a step back, make love your first religion, and see what comes after that. Shitty people, the way I’ve seen my husband be treated, and so much more resulted this.
I know Justin has spoken about where he’s at, but he thought it was a good idea for me to explain where I’m at to tie all of this up. I want to start off by saying that I’m not angry and hurt like I once was. I feel like I’m in a healthy spot. I feel like I’m in a restoration phase. I’m just taking time to not really focus on religion or spirituality. I’m working on bettering myself as a person. I’m learning to not be cynical and judgmental like I was raised- even if that was just subconscious. While I was in church, most of my if not all of my spare time was spent either in church or serving. I didnt have much time for myself, so now I’m able to focus on my mental health and my business, Contours + Curls.
So yeah, this is my story. We’ll see where this goes from here.